Notice is hereby given of the Meeting The Osteoarthritis Initiative - A Public- Private Research Collaboration, February 28-29, 2000, to be held at the Lister Hill Auditorium, NIH Campus, Bethesda, Maryland 20892. This meeting will be open to the public from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on both days.

This meeting is being organized by several NIH Institutes and Centers, the FDA, and numerous pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies who have formed a consortium to develop and support a project that will enhance and facilitate the development of clinical interventions for osteoarthritis. The development and testing of treatments for osteoarthritis through clinical trials are now limited because good biological markers to serve as surrogates for disease endpoints are not available. This consortium was formed in response to a 1998, NIH-wide initiative from Dr. Harold Varmus to foster investigations that utilize fundamental knowledge and laboratory technologies to develop surrogate biomarkers of disease. In all areas of medicine there has been an enormous growth in the identification of potential targets for disease modification. Without the tools for rapid and inexpensive testing of potential targets, the development of new drugs will continue to be limited. Osteoarthritis presents great scientific opportunity and public need.

The consortium that has resulted from meetings of an Osteoarthritis Initiative Steering Group is exploring the options for government and industry to cosponsor, as a public-private consortium, the establishment of a research infrastructure to develop and evaluate biomarkers for osteoarthritis. The goal of this emerging research initiative is to support an epidemiological human cohort study of the natural history of OA. The timely sampling of biological specimens and joint imaging throughout the life history of the disease, is expected to provide the information needed for the validation of biological markers of osteoarthritis progression. 

The February 28-29, 1999 meeting will focus on the development of a strategic plan for the Osteoarthritis Initiative. The goal of this initiative is to support an epidemiological, human cohort study of osteoarthritis to provide crucial information for the development biomarkers that may serve as surrogate endpoints of osteoarthritis progression and response to treatments.

Ms. Maureen Knowles; NIAMS; Extramural Program; Natcher building; Room 5As-43; Bethesda, MD 20892-6500; Phone: 301-594-5055, Fax: 301-480-4543, will provide information or it can be accessed at the following Web site:

Individuals who plan to attend and need special assistance, such as sign language interpretation or other reasonable accommodations, should contact Ms. Knowles at 301-594-5055, in advance of the meeting.

Dated: December 20, 1999

Ruth L. Kirschstein, M.D. 
Deputy Director, NIH 

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